My memory of the media world isn’t long enough to know whether respected print organizations were publishing “analyses” like this AP story before the rise of cable news provided a model of endless, empty chatter, but I suspect it may have played a role.
In any case, while Brendan Nyhan says what needs to be said, one more quick point. The conclusion of the AP story—which revives the question of whether President Obama is too visible, and even asks if he is “obnoxiously articulate”—reads as follows:
So is Obama’s style the right one for the time? “We can’t anticipate the history books,” Greenstein says. “If he gets results, it’s going to look like a very strong performance. If he doesn’t, then it’s going to look badly.”
When your thousand-word story ends with your scholarly expert essentially shrugging his shoulders and saying it all depends on what happens—well, that may be a sign that the question you’ve been exploring is not that pressing, after all.Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.